According to the Daily Mail, households are leaving the big six due to repeated price increases, billing issues, poor customer service and difficulties experienced when claiming refunds.
At present, the top five deals in the energy best buy table are all offered by small suppliers. The three cheapest tariffs will all set back the average home by less than £1,000 per year, however, the cheapest on offer from the big six is almost £50 more expensive.
Small suppliers with growing customer bases
Over the past six years, a number of small, domestic energy suppliers have been established. The largest include First Utility, Ovo Energy and Ecotricity.
The number of people leaving the big six for independent suppliers rocketed following last year’s winter price rises, which saw the big six raise bills by close to 10%.
First Utility has managed to attract 475,000 households, Ovo Energy has 350,000 (double the number it had just six months ago) and green energy specialist, Ecotricity has 135,000.
However, to put these figures into context, the big six – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, SSE and ScottishPower – still supply 95% of the British population.
Loyalty doesn’t pay in the energy sector
The news follows a report by uSwitch which highlighted the issue of customer loyalty in the energy sector.
According to energy regulator Ofgem, 62% of households have never switched supplier. This loyalty costs them up to £232 per year.
In stark contrast, homes which have switched to a small supplier from a big six standard plan, will save an average of £180 per year.